This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004.
I remember the moments leading up to what the world would later term “Nipplegate.” Janet was absolutely killing it onstage, singing all the songs we wanted to hear: “Rhythm Nation,” “All For You.” Then came Justin, who was just coming off N’Sync and I was all, eh, this is probably going to go South.
It went just South enough.
As JT approached the end of “Rock Your Body,” with the lyrics “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” he ripped off Janet’s breast plate to reveal a blip-second shot of Michael’s baby sister’s boob emblazoned with some kind of weird metal star contraption that absolutely had to hurt.
Then all hell broke loose. CBS had to pay a huge fine — the largest ever of its kind. Janet’s career really hasn’t been the same since. And, of course, Justin walked away looking like a stud. What’s worse is that the FCC is finally starting to admit the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Rolling Stone recalls a recent ESPN interview with Chairman Michael Powell:
A decade removed from Nipplegate, former FCC chairman Michael Powell admits that the committee acted “unfairly” toward Janet Jackson following the incident. He tells ESPN that the FCC overreacted. “I personally thought that was really unfair. It all turned into being about her,” Powell said. “In reality, if you slow the thing down, it’s Justin ripping off her breastplace.” The comments are a complete turnaround from Powell’s own words 10 years earlier, when he called Nipplegate “a new low from primetime TV.”
Poor Janet. Poor boobs.